A Utah man and his wife were reportedly murdered execution-style and her 12-year-old son shot while traveling through Mexico last week, and local news outlets say community police could have been the culprits.
What are the details?
The couple has been identified as Salt Lake City native Paul Nielsen, 52, and Janeth Vazquez, 43, who was reportedly originally from Puebla, Mexico. The family was attacked by masked gunmen around 3:30 a.m. Thursday after passing through a road checkpoint on their way through the state of Guerrero en route to a beach resort town.
According to Mexico News Daily, the family failed to stop at the checkpoint, and their vehicle "was intercepted by armed men who ordered the three occupants to get out" before shooting both adults in the head. State police later found their bodies.
The boy was also shot in the attack. While he survived, he reportedly had a nervous breakdown.
The perpetrators are unknown at this time, but local reports speculated that the gunmen could have been community police or cartel operatives. They also stole the family's vehicle.
KSTU-TV reported that the U.S. State Department issued the following statement on Saturday:
"We are aware of reports of the death of Paul Nielsen in the Mexican state of Guerrero. We extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Nielsen's family. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide."
Nielsen's sister, Vilate Ssempala, told The Salt Lake Tribune that while growing up, her brother was known as "Perfect Paul," because he was a rule-follower.
Ssempala told the outlet she isn't aware of anyone pursing the suspects who murdered her brother and Vazquez.
A GoFundMe has been set up to assist Nielsen's son, Jacob, and to have the father's body returned home to the United States.